LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
‣ Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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The careful reader can hardly have failed to observe the gradual progress of my father’s mind upon religious subjects, and to have marked how his feelings on those points had deepened and strengthened from the frequent references he makes to them as the only sure foundation for rational happiness. Few men, indeed, had ever the thoughts of the life to come more constantly present to them; and his anticipations of a happy futurity are so frequent as to have met with the charge of an overweening confidence approaching to irreverence. But although his manner of speaking may have been such as to seem
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 109
irreverent to other minds constituted differently from his own, his nature was not really so; and the truth would seem to be, that from a fervid imagination combined with strong positive faith, and a habit of mind the opposite to the Pyrrhonism he lamented in his friend
William Taylor, he realised the idea of another life so vividly as to make him express himself on that subject with an unusual familiarity. The point which he most frequently alludes to, and which he appears to dwell upon with the greatest pleasure, is that of the meeting of “the spirits of just men made perfect;” and the natural buoyancy of his temperament, united with the wide charitableness of his creed, saved him from the misgivings which would have checked more timid religionists, both in contemplating the future state itself, and in peopling the blessed mansions with those whom he honoured and loved.

The very course of his studies and the habits of his life forced upon him such continual thoughts of the “mighty dead” that they seem to have been almost like living and breathing companions, and his wishes to meet and commune with them face to face, became like the intense desire we sometimes feel to meet a living person known intimately yet not personally.

I cannot resist quoting here his own lines on the subject, written a few years before this period of his life:—

“My days among the dead are past;
Around me I behold,
Where’er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old;
My never failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.
“With them I take delight in weal,
And seek relief in woe;
And while I understand and feel
How much to them I owe.
My checks have often been bedewed
With tears of thoughtful gratitude.
“My thoughts are with the dead, with them
I live in long past years;
Their virtues love, their faults condemn,
Partake their hopes and fears;
And from their lessons seek and find
Instruction with an humble mind.
“My hopes are with the dead! Anon
My place with them will be,
And I with them shall travel on
Through all futurity;
Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
That will not perish in the dust.”*

* I have an additional pleasure in quoting these lines here, because Mr. Wordsworth (now, alas! himself numbered among those “mighty dead”) once remarked that they possessed a peculiar interest as a most true and touching representation of my father’s character. He also wished three alterations to be made in them, in order to reduce the language to correctness and simplicity. In the third line, because the phrase “casual eyes” is too unusual, he proposed
“Where’er I chance these eyes to cast.”
In the sixth line, instead of “converse,” “commune;” because as it stands, the accent is wrong.

In the second stanza, he thought
“While I understand and feel.
My cheeks have often been bedewed,”
was a vicious construction grammatically, and proposed instead,
“My pensive cheeks are oft bedewed.”
These suggestions were made too late for my father to profit by them.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 111

I have before spoken of the prevalence of sceptical opinions (vol. iii. p. 6.) among young men of the higher classes at the commencement of this century, and I have mentioned that many of my father’s acquaintances and some of his friends were at one period or another troubled with doubts upon religion. Accordingly, as opportunity occurred, he often endeavoured, when he had any reasonable hopes of doing good, to impress upon such persons the perfect adaptation of Christianity to the wants and nature of man, and especially the deep and never failing sources of comfort it affords in all times of sorrow and trouble.

To one of these friends who had passed through the stages of doubt and settled into a firm conviction of the truth of Christianity, and whom he had the happiness of knowing he had been partly instrumental, through Providence, in leading to this better mind, the following letter was addressed.

To ——.
“Keswick, Feb. 8. 1822.
“My dear ——,

“I heard with sorrow of your ill health. Perhaps you are at this time a happier man than if you were in the enjoyment of vigorous health, and had never known sickness or sorrow. Any price is cheap for religious hope. The evidence for Christianity is as demonstrative as the subject admits: the more it is investigated, the stronger it appears. But the root
of belief is in the heart, rather than in the understanding; and when it is rooted there, it derives from the understanding nutriment and support. Against Atheism, Materialism, and the mortality of the soul, there is the reductio ad absurdum in full force; and for revealed religion there is the historical evidence, strong beyond the conception of those who have not examined it; and there is that perfect adaptation to the nature and wants of man, which, if such a revelation had not already been made, would induce a wise and pious man to expect it, as fully as a Jew expects the Messiah. For many years my belief has not been clouded with the shadow of a doubt.

“When we observe what things men will believe, who will not believe Christianity, it is impossible not to acknowledge how much belief depends upon the will.

“I shall have a large share of abuse in the course of this year. In the first place, my Book of the Church, which I am writing con amore and with great diligence, will strike both the Catholics and the Puritans harder blows than they have been of late years accustomed to receive. The Emancipationists, therefore, and the Dissenters will not be pleased; and you know the temper of the latter. My History of the War smites the Whigs, and will draw upon me, sans doubt, as much hatred from the Buonapartists in France, as I have the satisfaction of enjoying from their friends in England. This volume is in great forwardness; more than five hundred pages are printed. As for Lord Byron and his coadjutors in the Times, Chronicle, &c. &c., I shall of course not
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 113
notice the latter, and deal with his lordship as he may deserve and as I may feel inclined. I have the better cause and the stronger hand.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To the Rev. Herbert Hill.
“Keswick, Feb. 24. 1822.
“My dear Uncle,

“. . . . . With regard to Lord Byron, I have suffered him to attack me with impunity for several years. My remarks upon the Satanic School were general remarks upon a set of public offenders; and it was only in reply to the foulest personalities that I attacked him personally in return. The sort of insane and rabid hatred which he has long entertained towards me, cannot be increased; and it is sometimes necessary to show that forbearance proceeds neither from weakness nor from fear.

“Your copy of Landor’s book was franked up through the Admiralty to Gifford. His Latin, I believe, is of the best kind; but it is, like his English, remarkably difficult: the prose, however, much less so than the verse. The cause of this obscurity it is very difficult to discover.

“My correspondence with Frere has been very brisk. Something, also, I have had from Whittingham, and am every day expecting answers to further
questions which I have sent; but the most valuable papers which I have yet had, are from
Sir Hew Dalrymple, relating to his first communications with the Spaniards, and the whole proceedings in the south of Spain, while the junta of Seville ruled the roast. They will cause me to cancel a few pages, and replace them with fuller details. Luckily the greater part comes in time to be introduced in its place, without any inconvenience of this kind. These papers have given me a clear insight into many points with which I was imperfectly acquainted before. They contain also proof of scandalous neglect on the part of Ministers, or something worse than neglect—a practice of leaving their agents without instructions for the sake of shifting the responsibility from themselves. At the commencement of the troubles in Spain, out of thirty-four despatches,—certainly the most important that any governor of Gibraltar ever had occasion to send home,—Lord Castlereagh never acknowledged more than two. I have heard our Government complained of for this sort of conduct, which, in fact, is practised in every department of state; but this is the most glaring proof of it that has ever fallen in my way.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 115
To Walter Savage Landor, Esq.
“Feb. 29. 1822.

“In looking over your volumes*, you will, I think, wherever you perceive that a passage has been struck out, perceive at the same time for what reason it was omitted. The reason for every omission was such that, I am persuaded, you would, without hesitation, have assented to it, had you been upon the spot. A most powerful and original book it is, in any one page of which—almost in any single sentence—I should have discovered the author, if it had come into my hands as an anonymous publication. Notice it must needs attract; but I suspect that it will be praised the most by those with whom you have the least sympathy, and that the English and Scottish Liberals may perhaps forgive you even for being my friend.

“I have not been from home since the summer of 1820. Even since that time, London has been so altered as to have almost the appearance of a new city. Nothing that I have seen elsewhere can bear comparison with the line of houses from Regent’s Park to Carleton House. A stranger might imagine that our shopkeepers were like the merchants of Tyre, and lived in palaces. I wish the buildings were as substantial as they are splendid; but every thing is done in the spirit of trade. Durability never enters into the builder’s speculations, and the unsub-

* The proof sheets of a work of Mr. Landor’s, on the Writings of Charles Fox, had passed through my father’s hands.

stantial brick walls are covered with a composition which seems to have the bad property of attracting moisture in a remarkable degree. In Regent’s Park, before the houses are finished, the cornices are perfectly green with slimy vegetation. The most impressive sight to me was St. Paul’s by gas-light. I do not think anything could be more sublime than the effect of that strong light upon the marble statues; and the darkness of the dome, which the illumination from below served only to render visible. They have attempted to warm this enormous building by introducing heated air; but after expending 800l. in stoves and flues, the effect was to render the quire unendurably cold, for the whole body of cold air from the dome came rushing down, so that the attempt has been given up as hopeless.

“In London I scarcely went out of the circle of my own immediate friends. But as I went east and west upon a round of flying visits to old friends and familiar acquaintances, some of whom I had not seen for more than twenty years, I had opportunity enough of perceiving a more general disposition to be satisfied with things as they are, than ever existed within my memory at any former time. There happened to be no question afloat with which any party feeling could be connected, and the people were sensible of their general prosperity. Few, indeed, are they who apprehend the momentous consequences of the changes which are taking place. One effect of general education (such as that education is) is beginning to manifest itself. The twopenny journals of sedition and blasphemy lost their
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 117
attraction when they no longer found hunger and discontent to work upon. But they had produced an appetite for reading. Some journeymen printers who were out of work tried what a weekly twopenny-worth of miscellaneous extracts would do; it answered so well, that there were presently between twenty and thirty of these weekly publications, the sale of which is from 1000 to 15,000 each. How I should like to talk with you concerning the prospects of the old world and of the new. “God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, July 12. 1822.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“My old friend Lightfoot is with me, whom you remember at Oxford, and whom I had not seen since we parted upon leaving Oxford eight and twenty years ago. The communication between us had never been broken. I had a great regard for him, and talked of him often and oftener thought of him; and, as you may suppose, the more I became known and talked of in the world, the larger part I occupied in his thoughts. So at length he mustered up resolution to make a journey hither from Crediton during his Midsummer holidays, being master of the grammar school there.

“He declares me to be less altered in appearance and manners than any man whom he ever saw. I
should not have known him; and yet he has worn better than I have; but he is thinner, and altogether less than when he was a young man, and his face has lengthened, partly because he has lost some of his hair. His life has been laborious, uniform, successful, and singularly happy.

“He trembled like an aspen leaf at meeting me.* A journey to Cumberland is to him as formidable a thing as it would be for me to set off for Jerusalem, so little has he been used to locomotion. And he has shocked Edith May by wishing that the mountains would descend to fill up the lakes and vales, because then I should return to the south and be within reach of him.

“The only thing short of this which would be likely to remove me from this country, would be, if upon Gifford’s giving up the management of the Quarterly Review, it were to be offered me and made worth my acceptance. In that case I should probably from prudential reasons think it proper to accept the offer, and fix myself within ten or twelve miles of town. But this is not likely, and I am not sure that it would be desirable.

“What a pleasure it is in declining life to see the friends of our youth such as we should wish them to be; and how infinitely greater will be the pleasure of meeting them in another world, where progression in beatitude will be the only change!

“God bless you! my dear Grosvenor.

R. S.”

* In another letter he says, “I shall never forget the manner in which he met me, nor the tone in which he said, ‘that having now seen me he should return home and die in peace.’”—Sept. 1. 1822.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 119

In the course of the summer Dr. Channing made a brief visit to Keswick, bearing a letter of introduction to my father, from whom it seems he had requested one to the Rev. Christopher Benson, the late master of the Temple. This is interesting as relating to two distinguished individuals. I may add that my father used to speak of Mr. Benson as the most impressive and pleasing preacher he had ever heard, “so as to admit of no comparison with any other.”

To the Rev. Christopher Benson.
“Keswick, July 17. 1822.
“Dear Sir,

Dr. Channing, of Boston, in New England, is equally distinguished in his own country by the fervour and eloquence of his preaching, and the primitive virtues of his life. I take the liberty of introducing him to you, because you will feel yourself in accord with him upon many of the most important points, and because I am very desirous that he should see and converse with one who holds as high a rank in Old England as he does in America. I have learnt from him with some surprise that, under the name of Unitarianism, Arianism is the prevailing doctrine in the Massachusetts’ states, and that he himself is of that persuasion. But I have told him that he will find himself much more in sympathy with our clergy than with the Dissenters, and this he already apprehends. He is in opulent
circumstances, and has devoted, and almost spent, himself in the ministerial duties.

“I need say no more of him; his conversation and the truly Christian temper of his mind, notwithstanding the doctrinal errors which he holds, will sufficiently recommend him. But I feel the necessity of apologising for the liberty which I am taking with you. You will, I trust, impute it to the true cause, and not be offended, if, in excuse for it, I say to you that having had the good fortune once to hear you in the pulpit, and having since perused with the greatest satisfaction the series of your discourses, I earnestly wish that this excellent American should receive the most favourable impressions of the English Church. When I spoke of you to him last night, and put your volume into his hands, I did not know whether you were in this or in a better world. To-day, by mere accident, I learn that you have happily resumed your labours, and yielding to the first impulse I offered this introduction to Dr. Channing with as much pleasure as he manifested at receiving it.

“When you visit this your native county, you would gratify me greatly by giving me an opportunity of personally repeating an apology for this intrusion, and offering you such hospitality as my means afford.

Believe me, dear Sir,
Yours with the highest esteem and respect,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 121

The following letter refers to an amusing adventure which had just happened to General Peachey (whose name has before occurred), and who was one of my father’s most friendly and hospitable neighbours. His seat was on one of the islands in Derwentwater, and a more lovely spot fancy could not picture. It was not, however, a convenient residence, especially for a dinner party in unfavourable weather; for although the passage was short, still silks and satins suffered woefully when the waves rose high, and occasionally covered the fair wearers with their spray, and great was the reluctance to leave blazing fires and lighted rooms for pitchy darkness, and a voyage not only unpleasant but sometimes formidable.

Many adventures, generally however of a more ludicrous than perilous kind, occurred in consequence of this watery barrier. Large parties have been compelled to remain all night, the gentlemen bivouacking round the drawing-room fire; sometimes a dense fog came on, so that the rowers lost their way, and either wandered up and down the lake for several hours, or landed their hapless boat loads on some distant fenny or stony shore, to act, unwillingly, to the life “the Children of the Mist.” On one occasion the General himself, returning home unexpectedly, found it impossible to cross, and after waiting upon the inhospitable shore till he was wet and weary, made his way up to Greta Hall in sad plight.

The General was a great lover of aquatics, and his favourite amusement was a sailing boat, which,
in spite of all warnings (for the sudden gusts which rush down the mountain gorges render the smaller lakes extremely unsafe for sailing on), he persevered in navigating with more boldness than skill. More than once his only place of refuge was the keel of his vessel, on which he hung till help arrived, and sometimes he was driven hopelessly aground on the mid-shallows of the lake. All these accidents, however, served as good stories to circulate around his cheerful board, and many was the hearty laugh he raised and joined in at his own misadventures. The reader will find scattered up and down these volumes occasional allusions to pleasant days passed in his company, nor did any one entertain a truer respect and a more friendly regard for my father. With him departed the open hand and kind heart of a true English gentleman.

To the Rev. Nicholas Lightfoot.
“Keswick, Sept. 16. 1822.
“My dear Lightfoot,

“The General has lately had a narrow, though ludicrous escape. He upset himself with an umbrella in a little skiff which Sir Frederick Moreshead had given him. It was within hearing of his own island. The skiff was corked so that it could not sink, but being half full of water after he had righted it, it was not possible for him to get in, and he being well buttoned up against a stormy day in a thick great coat was in no plight for swimming, so he held on
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 123
and holload stoutly for assistance. His two men hastened off in his little boat, the large one happening to be on the opposite shore. The General had presence of mind enough to consider that if he attempted to get into the little boat he should in all likelihood pull her under water, and that neither of the men could swim; he therefore very coolly directed them to take the rope of the skiff and tow it to the island with him at the end; and in this way he came in like a Triton, waving his hat round his head, and huzzaing as he approached his own shores. I ought to have told you that there came an invitation from him for you to dinner the day after your departure.

John May left me this day fortnight, and Dr. Bell departed some days after him. The exercise which I took with him completed the good work which was begun with you, and has left me in a better state than I had been in for the two last years. By way of keeping it up while the season permits (nothing being so salutary to me as vigorous exercise) I went up Skiddaw Dod this morning—one of the expeditions which is reserved for your next visit; on my return I found a letter from my brother Henry, saying he shall be here on Wednesday. This will give me ten days more of laking and mountaineering, if the weather permit.

“The temptation which the country holds out to that exercise which is peculiarly necessary for me must be weighed among the many reasons for remaining in it. For with my sedentary habits and inactive inclinations I require every inducement to draw me out. But whether I remain or remove
I shall see you, my dear
Lightfoot, often again (God willing) both in Devonshire and wherever I may be. I shall certainly come down to you when next I visit London, which will probably be in February or March.

“During the little time I had for business I have written about half a paper for the Quarterly, upon a history of the Religious Sects of the last century, by the ex-Bishop Gregoire. The book is curious for its strange mixture of revolutionary feelings with Catholic bigotry, and for the account which it gives of irreligion in France. It gives me matter for an interesting paper, to be wound-up with some seasonable observations upon the progress of infidelity at home. God bless you, my dear Lightfoot!

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Dr. Southey.
“Keswick, Oct. 30. 1822.
“My dear Harry,

“As soon as you departed I settled regularly to my habitual course of life, which has been so much to my benefit broken up through the summer. At the same time I very dutifully began to observe your directions, and have walked every day with the exception of one stormy one. This is against the grain, but I feel the benefit of it, and therefore do not grumble.

“The American books have arrived, and I am
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 125
reading with much interest
Dwight’s Travels in his own country—a posthumous work. The author (whose unhappy name is Timothy) wrote in his youth some forty years ago, an heroic poem upon the Conquest of Canaan, which was puffed and reprinted in London. Its stilted versification was admired in those days, but it had little or no real merit. Dwight, however, though a bad poet,—because of a bad school,—was a sensible man; and he kept a journal of his travels, and prepared it for publication, from a conviction that a faithful description of New England in all its parts, such as it then was, would in a few generations become exceedingly interesting, however unimportant it might appear if published as soon as it was written. A great deal of course is only interesting locally; but on the whole, the picture of what the country is, his fair views of the state of society then, with its advantages and disadvantages, and the number of curious facts which are brought together, make it very well worth reading. I would give a good deal to see as trustworthy and minute an account of the Southern States. This is just the sort of book which ought to be digested into a review.

“The Quarterly Review will not do itself any good by the mealy-mouthed manner in which it has dealt with Lord Byron. The excuse for its previous silence is wretched; and to preach a sermon in refutation of so silly a piece of sophistry as Cain is pitiful indeed. To crown all, while they are treating his Lordship with so much respect, and congratulating themselves on the improved morality of his
productions—out comes ‘
the Liberal.’ I have only seen some newspaper extracts from this journal, among them the description of myself. He may go on with such satire till his heart aches, before he can excite in me one uncomfortable emotion. In warring with him I have as much advantage in my temper as Orlando had in his invulnerable hide. But there is no necessity for striking a blow at one who has so completely condemned himself. I wish the Liberals joy of their journal.*

“Love from all. God bless you!

Robert Southey.”
To the Rev. Nicholas Lightfoot.
“Keswick, Nov. 8. 1822.
“My dear Lightfoot,

“By my brother Henry’s means, I have found how the impediment between me and your cyder may be removed. If you will direct it for me to the care of George Sealy, Esq., Liverpool, and ship it for that place, letting me know by what vessel it is sent, he will look after it there and forward it to Keswick, and then we will all drink your health in the juice of the apple. It will need a case to protect it from the gimlet.

“There is little chance of any circumstance

* “Lord Byron has rendered it quite unnecessary for me to resent his attacks any farther. This last publication is so thoroughly infamous that it needs no exposure. It may reach a second number if it escape prosecution, but hardly a third. He and Leigh Hunt, no doubt, will quarrel, and their separation break up the concern.”—To the Rev. Neville White, Nov. 16. 1822.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 127
drawing me from this country to reside in the vicinity of London,—at least I can foresee none. The question whether or not the
Quarterly Review should do so has been fairly considered and decided, in consequence of Gifford’s dangerous illness. He had written to me soon after you left us, saying he could not long continue to conduct the Review, and he knew not where to look for a successor. He was not ill at the time, and therefore my consideration of the matter was not hastily, but deliberately made. If I had chosen to propose myself, the office must have been mine, of course. The objections to it were, that the increased expenditure which I must incur near London would fully consume any increase of income which I should have obtained, and therefore the time consumed in the mere management of the journal would have been a dead loss. This time would be unpleasantly, as well as unprofitably spent in corresponding upon the mere business of the Review, examining communications, and either correcting them myself where there was anything erroneous, imprudent, or inconsistent with those coherent opinions which the journal should have maintained under my care, or in persuading the respective writers to amend and alter according to that standard. Lastly, it seemed that there was nothing which could recompense me for the sacrifice which it needs would be to quit a country in which I take so much delight, and of which all my family are as fond as myself; and there was this weightier consideration,—that if I gave up the quantity of time which the management of such a journal re-
quires, it would take away all reasonable hope of my completing the various great works for which I have been so long making preparations.

“I talked this matter over with John May, who entered entirely into my feelings. The next point, having fully made up my mind concerning myself, was to secure the succession (as far as my influence extended) for some person with whom I could freely and heartily co-operate. John Coleridge is just such a person; and having ascertained that he would like the situation, I mentioned him to Gifford and to Murray. Gifford’s illness has occurred since. He is better at present, and I have good reason to believe it is all but settled that John Coleridge is to become the Editor of the Quarterly Review. Without taking him from his profession, it will render him independent of it, and place him at once in a high and important situation.

“. . . . . This is a long explanation, and yet I think you will like to know the how and the why of my proceedings. In consequence, I may possibly take more part in the review, and certainly more interest in it; because, knowing the tenor of his opinions, and his way of thinking, I am sure he will admit nothing that either in matter or manner could offend a well-regulated mind. He will hold a manly and straightforward course, and censure will always come with weight and effect, because it will never be unduly or insolently applied. . . . .

Believe me, my dear Lightfoot,
Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 129
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec, 20. 1822.
“My dear G.,

“I have no written form of admission to the office of Laureate, and very well remember being surprised at the thoroughly unceremonious manner of my induction. At the day and hour appointed (a very memorable one, the Prince Regent going to Parliament just after the news of the battle of Leipsic had been made public), I went to a little low, dark room in the purlieus of St. James’s, where a fat old gentleman-usher, in full buckle, administered an oath to me, in presence of a solitary clerk; and that was all, payment of fees excepted, which was not made at the time. Walter Scott, I recollect, was amused at the description which I sent him of this ceremony, and said it was a judgment upon me for inserting among the Notes to the Cid a reflection of Sir John Finett’s upon the ‘superstition of a gentleman-usher.’ Whether any entry was made, and whether I signed my name, I cannot call to mind, it being nine years ago. Gazetted, however, I was, and P. L. I have been from that time. But how can this concern you?

“You know the proverb, that he who is not handsome at twenty, wise at forty, and rich at fifty, will never be rich, wise, or handsome. Quoad my handsomeness—handsome is as handsome does, and whatever I may have been, they have made a pretty figure of me in magazines. There is a portrait in a German edition of my smaller poems, which it will
be a treat for you to see. You will never again complain of your ugly likeness below stairs. Concerning the second part of the adage, certain it is that about the age of forty, my views upon all important subjects were matured and settled, so that I am not conscious of their having undergone any change since, except in slight modifications upon inferior points. But for the last part of the story,—rich at fifty,—I certainly shall not be, nor in the way to be so.

“When I deliberated, if deliberating it can be called, about the Quarterly Review, the single motive on one side was the desire of having an adequate and sure income, which I have never had since I discontinued the Edinburgh Annual Register, because it ceased to pay me for my work. My establishment requires 600l. a-year, exclusive of other calls. The average produce of my account with Longman is about 200l.; what I derive from the Exchequer you know; the rest must come from the grey goose quill; and the proceeds of a new book have hitherto pretty generally been anticipated. They may float me for a second year perhaps. Roderick did for three years, with the help of the Pilgrimage—then the tide ebbs, and so I go on. At present it is neap tide in the Row. My tale of Paraguay, when I can finish it, will about make it high water.

“This is all very well, while I am well; but if any of the countless ills which flesh is heir to should affect my health, eyesight, or faculties, I should instantly be thrown into a state in which my income would only amount to about half my expenditure.
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 131
Concerning death I have no anxieties. . . . . On that score I am easy, and not uneasy upon any other. But I have said all this to explain why it was that I could even ask myself the question whether it would become me to take the
Quarterly Review into my own hands. I am quite satisfied that it would not; but that it behoves me to go on, as I have always hitherto done, hopefully, contentedly, and thankfully, taking no farther care for the morrow than that of endeavouring always to be able to say, sufficient for the day hath been the work thereof.

“I have made a valiant resolution that the produce of this History shall not be touched for current expenses, looking to it always as the work wherewith I was to begin to make myself independent. The Book of the Church I must eat, but I will not eat these Peninsular quartos. The Whigs may nibble at them if they please.

“I have just received an official communication from Sir William Knighton, which, though it be marked private, there can be no unfitness in my communicating to you. It is in these words, ‘I am commanded by the King to convey to you the estimation in which His Majesty holds your distinguished talents, and the usefulness and importance of your literary labours. I am further commanded to add, that His Majesty receives with great satisfaction the first volume of your valuable work on the late Peninsular War.’ This is the letter, and at the head of it is written—‘entirely approved. G. R.’ Is not this very gracious? and how many persons there are whom such a Communication would make quite
happy. For myself I am sorry there are so few persons connected with me who can be gratified by it, and wish my good
Aunt Mary had been here to have enjoyed it. I may deposit it with my letters affilifatory from the Cymmrodorion, &c., and I might write upon the packet that contains them, vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas. Not that I would be understood as affecting, in the slightest degree, to undervalue what I am continually labouring to deserve.

“God bless you!
R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Jan. 27. 1823.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“I am very glad to see Herries’s appointment. By all that I have heard for many years past, a more unfit person than —— could not possibly have been in that situation; to get him out, and to have so efficient a man in his stead, is indeed a great point. It is the very place in which I have wished to see Herries. I hope and trust, now, that such means as the existing laws afford will be steadily employed for checking the license of the press. The radical country papers continually lay themselves open to prosecution; and I am certain that repeated prosecutions would go far towards stopping the mischief which they are doing at present, and have so long been doing with impunity. A strict watch over these, and over Cobbett, would soon suppress them.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 133

“I know nothing of the sale of my book; Murray has not written to me since it appeared. Only two opinions of it have reached me, except those of my friends,—one in a complimentary letter from Mr. Littleton, the member for Staffordshire; the other in a letter of the ci-devant Grand Parleur, which Rickman sent me; and certainly nothing could be more flattering than what he said of it,—that it was ‘a Thucydidean history, which would last as long as our country and our language.’ I must confess, however, that I am not aware of any other resemblance than what the title suggests; though I have always flattered myself that my other historical work might, in more points than one, be compared with Herodotus, and will hereafter stand in the same relation to the history of that large portion of the new world, as his work does to that of the old.

“We had an adventure this morning, which if poor Snivel* had been living would have set up her bristles in great style. A foumart was caught in the back-kitchen: you may, perhaps, know it better by the name of pole-cat. It is the first I ever saw or smelt; and certainly it was in high odour. Poor Snivel! I still have the hairs which we cut from her tail thirty years ago; and if it were the fashion for men to wear lockets, in a locket they should be worn, for I never had a greater respect for any creature upon four legs than for poor Sni. See how naturally men fall into relic-worship; when I have pre-

* A dog belonging to Mr. Bedford in early days.

served the memorials of that momentary whim so many years, and through so many removals!

“To give you some notion of my heterogeneous reading, I am at this time regularly going through Shakspeare, Mosheim’s Ecc. Hist., Rabelais, Barrow, and Aitzema, a Dutch historian of the seventeenth century, in eleven huge full folios. The Dutchman I take after supper, with my punch. You are not to suppose that I read his work verbatim: I look at every page, and peruse those parts which relate to my own subjects, or which excite curiosity; and a great deal I have found there.

“We have not seen the face of the earth here for fifteen days,—a longer time than it has ever been covered with snow since I came into the country. I growl at it every day. It seems a long while since I have heard from you. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Humphrey Senhouse, Esq.
“Keswick, July 11. 1822.
“My dear Senhouse,

“I am sorry to say that the prospect before me is not such as to allow much hope of my seeing Holland* this year. Time, the printers, and the constable are leagued together to oppose my wishes:

* My father had for some time wished to visit the Low Countries, and had planned a tour there with Mr. Senhouse, who had been his companion in a former journey. This was not accomplished until 1825, when Mr. S. was not able to accompany him.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 135
I shall overcome the alliance, but not till the season will be too far advanced. Perhaps I could be ready by the vintage, which would be no unpleasant sight; but then the days are shortening, and day-light is the thing which travellers can least spare.

“My winter has not been idly spent, but it has not carried me so far forward as I had anticipated, chiefly because writing a book is like building a house,—a work of more time and cost than the estimate has been taken at. This is the chief reason. But something, I confess, must be set down to my besetting sin—a sort of miser-like love of accumulation. Like those persons who frequent sales, and fill their own houses with useless purchases, because they may want them some time or other; so am I for ever making collections, and storing up materials which may not come into use till the Greek Calends. And this I have been doing for five-and-twenty years! It is true that I draw daily upon my hoards, and should be poor without them; but in prudence I ought now to be working up these materials rather than adding to so much dead stock.

“This volume, when it appears, will provoke a great branch of the Satanic confederacy—the Bonapartists. It is the most damning record of their wickedness that has yet appeared in this country, and in a form to command both attention and belief. Only yesterday I learnt from General Whittingham, who was in the battle of Medellin, that the French had orders to give no quarter. A wounded Spanish officer was brought into the room where Victor was at supper, and Victor said to him, ‘If
my orders had been obeyed, Sir, you would not have been here.’ Those orders were obeyed so well, that the French dragoons that night rubbed their right arms with soap and spirits, to recover the muscles from the fatigue they had undergone in cutting the fugitives down. God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 23. 1823.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Your letter comes in aid of a purpose which I had entertained, of putting together what I have said upon the Catholic question in the Edinburgh Annual Register, recasting it, and publishing it, with some needful additions, in the form of a pamphlet. About a week ago, I put down in my note-book the first sketch of an arrangement, and actually began to compose what I have to say, as a letter to some M.P.; not that it was meant to be addressed to any individual one; but having argued with Wilberforce and Sir Thomas Acland, upon the subject, I knew in what light they considered it. The course which affairs have taken in Ireland will, probably, have the good effect of quashing the question for this year; and in that hope I am willing to postpone my own purpose till a season which may be more convenient to myself, and when aid of this kind may be more needed.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 137

“The arguments lie in a nutshell. The restraints which exclude the Catholics from political power are not the cause of the perpetual disorder in Ireland; their removal, therefore, cannot be the cure. Suppose the question carried, two others grow from it, like two heads from the hydra’s neck, when one is amputated:—a Catholic establishment for Ireland, at which Irish Catholics must aim, and which those who desire rebellion and separation will promote,—a rebellion must be the sure consequence of agitating this. The people of Ireland care nothing for emancipation,—why should they? but make it a question for restoring the Catholic church, and they will enter into it as zealously as ever our ancestors did into a crusade.

“The other question arises at home, and brings with it worse consequences than anything which can happen among the potatoes. The repeal of the Test Act will be demanded, and must be granted. Immediately the Dissenters will get into the corporations everywhere. Their members will be returned; men as hostile to the Church and to the monarchy as ever were the Puritans of Charles’s age. The church property will be attacked in Parliament, as it is now at mob-meetings, and in radical newspapers; reform in Parliament will be carried; and then farewell, a long farewell, to all our greatness.

“Our constitution consists of Church and State, and it is an absurdity in politics to give those persons power in the State, whose duty it is to subvert the Church. This argument is unanswerable. I am in
good hopes that my
Book of the Church will do yeoman’s service upon the question. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, May 25. 1823.
“My dear Grosvenor,

Westall has sent me four of the six prints for Roderick; the others are not yet finished. I am very much pleased with these. If I were persuaded, according to the custom of these times, that it is absolutely necessary to find some fault with every thing, I might perhaps say that the engraver has aimed at throwing too much expression into the eyes in some of the plates. Those which are come are Roderick at the Foot of the Cross, Adosinda showing him the Dead Bodies, Florinda at her Confession, and the Death of Count Julian. The first strikes me as the best, and for this reason, that the subject is altogether picturesque,—it explains itself sufficiently; whereas, to know what the others mean, the poetical situation must be understood. I am much more desirous that this speculation should succeed on Westall’s account than on my own. He had set his heart upon it, in the belief that it would be of service to me to have my poems thus illustrated (as the phrase is), and in the feeling that the publishers were acting unhandsomely in having such things done for every writer of any note except myself. The success would have been certain, had
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 139
it been done some years ago. At present it is very doubtful.

“How is Chantrey? Something like a message from him has been brought me by Mr. Gee, expressing a wish that I would sit to him when I come to London. When will that be you ask? And many, I daresay, ask the same question, who know not what pains, as well as thought, I must take for the morrow before I can afford two months of travelling and expenditure. To-night I shall finish with Queen Mary’s reign; Elizabeth’s will require not a long chapter; James’s a short one. The next is one of the most important in the book, but easily and soon written, because the materials are ready. Another chapter comes down to the Revolution, and one more will conclude. Then I shall set out for town, and eat ice there instead of oysters. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, June 15. 1823.
“My dear G.,

“The worst symptom of advancing age which I am sensible of in myself is a certain anxiety concerning ways and means; to that cause I impute it, for I am sure it does not belong to my disposition.

“You tell me it is not politic to work entirely for posthumous fame. Alas, Grosvenor, had you forgotten when you wrote that sentence that by far
the greater portion of my life has been consumed in providing for my household expenses? As for reputation, of that, God knows, I have as much as either I deserve or desire. If I have not profited by it, as some of my contemporaries have by theirs, the fault is not owing to my living out of sight. What advantage could it possibly be to me to meet great men at dinner twice or thrice in the season, and present myself as often at court? There is, I dare say, good will enough among some of the men in power to serve me, if they knew how; but if they asked me how, I should not be able to point out a way. . . . .

“Is it impossible for you to break away from London, and lay in a stock of fresh health and spirits by help of fresh air and exhilarating exercise? I wish you would come here and stay with me till I could return to town with you. You would do me good as well as yourself. God bless you!

R. S.”
To George Ticknor, Esq.
“Keswick, July 16. 1823.
“My dear Sir,

“If, as I trust, you have received my first volume of the Peninsular War, and the lithographic views which my friend, William Westall, has engraved to accompany it, you will perceive that negligent as I have been in delaying so long to thank you for the
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 141
books, and to reply to your welcome letter, I had not been wholly unmindful of you. Without attempting to excuse a delay for which I have long reproached myself, I may say that it has been chiefly, if not wholly occasioned by an expectation that I might have communicated to you
Gifford’s retirement from the management of the Quarterly Review, and the assumption of that management by a friend of mine, who would have given it a consistent tone upon all subjects. Poor Gifford was for several months in such a state that his death was continually looked for. His illness has thrown the journal two numbers in arrear; he feels and acknowledges his inability to conduct it, and yet his unwillingness to part with a power which he cannot exercise, has hitherto stood in the way of any other arrangement.

“I have more than once remonstrated both with him and Murray upon the folly and mischief of their articles respecting America; and should the journal pass into the hands of any person whom I can influence, its temper will most assuredly be changed. Such papers, the silence of the journal upon certain topics on which it ought manfully to have spoken out, and the abominable style of its criticism upon some notorious subjects, have made me more than once think seriously of withdrawing from it; and I have only been withheld by the hope of its amendment, and the certainty that through this channel I could act with more immediate effect than through any other. Inclosed you have a list of all my papers in it. I mean shortly to see whether Murray is willing to reprint such of them as are worth preserving,
restoring where I can the passages which
Gifford (to the sore mutilation of the part always, and sometimes to the destruction of the sense and argument) chose to omit,—and beginning with the Moral and Political Essays.

“Your friends and countrymen who come to Keswick make a far shorter tarriance than I could wish. They ‘come like shadows, so depart.’ Dr. Channing could give me only part of a short evening. Randolph of Roanoak no more: he left me with a promise that if he returned from Scotland by the western side of the island, he would become my guest: if he could have been persuaded to this, it would have done him good, for he stood in need of society, and of those comforts which are not to be obtained at an inn. Mr. Eliot passed through about five weeks ago, and on Monday last we had a younger traveller here,—Mr. Gardner. No country can send out better specimens of its sons.

Coleridge talks of bringing out his work upon Logic, of collecting his poems, and of adapting his translation of Wallenstein for the stage,—Kean having taken a fancy to exhibit himself in it. Wordsworth is just returned from a trip to the Netherlands: he loves rambling, and has no pursuits which require him to be stationary. I shall probably see him in a few days. Every year shows more and more how strongly his poetry has leavened the rising generation. Your mocking bird is said to improve the strain which he imitates; this is not the case with ours.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 143
“Nov. 2. 1823.

“I conclude this too long delayed letter on the eve of my departure for London. From thence, in the course of the next month, I shall send you the Book of the Church. Gifford is so far recovered that he hopes to conduct the Review to the 60th number. I have sent him the commencement of a paper upon Dwight’s book, which I shall finish in town. The first part is a review of its miscellaneous information; the second will examine the points of difference between an old country and a new one, the advantages and disadvantages which each has to hope and to fear, and the folly of supposing that the institutions which suit the one must necessarily be equally suitable to the other.

“Farewell, my dear Sir. Remember me to Alston and my other New England friends; and be assured that to them and to their country I shall always do justice in thought, word, and deed.

“God bless you!

Yours with sincere esteem,
Robert Southey.”
To the Rev. Nicholas Lightfoot.
“Keswick, Sept. 23. 1823.
“My dear Lightfoot,

“The summer, or what might have been the summer, has slipt away, and the autumn, or what ought to be he autumn, is passing after it, and I have not
yet been further from my fireside than a morning’s walk could carry me.

“I can tell you, however, now, that I shall start from home with my daughter Edith as early as possible in November, or, if possible, before the beginning of that month; and that after halting a week or ten days in London, I shall pursue my course to Crediton.

“The summer has brought with it its usual flock of strangers, some of them sufficiently amusing. My civilities to them are regulated something by the recommendations with which they present themselves, and a little more perhaps by their likeability, which depends something upon the cut of their jib. You know how impossible it is not to read faces, and be in some degree influenced by what we see in them. We have had two travellers from New England—young men both, and well qualified to keep up the good impression which their countrymen have left here. Last week we had an Englishman, who having travelled in the Levant, and been made prisoner by the Bedouins, near Mount Sinai, chooses to relate his adventures instead of publishing them, and tells Arabian stories after the manner of the professed story-tellers in the East. I wish you had seen him the other evening gravely delivering a tale of a magic ring (it was a full hour long) to a circle of some sixteen persons in this room, the vicar being one of the number. But the most interesting stranger who has found his way here is a Somersetshire man—Morrison by name, who, at the age of two or three and thirty, and beginning with little or nothing, has re-
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 145
alised some 150,000l. in trade, and was then bound to New Lanark, with the intention of vesting 5,000l. in
Owen’s experiment, if he should find his expectations confirmed by what he sees there. This person is well acquainted with the principal men among the free-thinking Christians; he likes the men, but sees reason to doubt their doctrine. He seems to be searching for truth in such a temper of mind that there is good reason for thinking he will find it.

“My household are in tolerable order. It has been increased this year by the acquisition of a most worthy Tom cat, who when the tenants of the next house departed was invited to this, where he received the name of Rumpelstilzchen, and has become a great favourite. I cannot say of him as Bedford does of a similar animal, that he is the best for nothing cat in the world, because he has done good service upon the rats, and been successively promoted to the rank of baron, viscount, and earl. In most other things we are as you left us, except that just now the waters are not in their place, having overflowed their banks.

“God bless you, my dear Lightfoot!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To the Lord Bishop of Limerick.
“Keswick, Oct. 22. 1823.
My Lord,

I ought to have thanked you for your Visitation Sermon and for your Charge, both worthy of the
hand from which they come. I have thought, also, more than once, of expressing to yourself, as I have done to others, the sincere pleasure which your promotion gave me, from a public not less than a personal feeling, in these times, when it is of such especial importance that such stations should be so filled. . . . .

“My anticipations would be of the darkest kind, if it were not for a calm, unhesitating reliance upon Providence. Our institutions had need be strong when they are so feebly defended, and so formidably and incessantly assailed. Uncompromising courage was almost the only quality of a statesman which Mr. Pitt possessed; and that quality has not been inherited by his successors. At present they seem to think that all is well, because the manufacturers are in employ, and there is no seditious movement going on. And they would hardly look upon that writer as their friend who should tell them that this quiet is only upon the surface, that the leaven is at work, and that there is less danger from the negroes in Demerara or Jamaica than from a manufacturing population such as ours, with such a party of determined radicals and besotted reformers in Parliament to excite them. Would that I could perceive the remedy as clearly as I do the evil! I have, however, for some time been deliberately putting together my thoughts upon this subject in a series of Colloquies upon the Progress and Prospects of Society, taking for my motto three pregnant words from St. Bernard, Respice, aspice, prospice. I am neither so vain or
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 147
so inexperienced as to imagine that anything which I may offer will change any man’s opinions; but I may fix them when they are unconfirmed, make the scale turn when it is wavering, and give a right bias to those who are beginning their career.

“There is hope for us at home, because our institutions are so good that it is quite certain, if they were subverted, the miserable people would soon desire nothing so much as their re-establishment; and moreover, with the commonest prudence, they are strong enough to resist a revolutionary attack. But if we look abroad, the contending parties are both in such extremes of evil, that I know not from which the worst consequences are to be apprehended,—the establishment of old governments or the triumph of new ones. You would be pleased, I am sure, with the paper concerning Spain in the last Quarterly. It is by my friend Blanco White (Leucadio Doblado). A Spanish priest, who came over to this country in 1810, a thorough Jacobin and a thorough unbeliever, and is at this time as sincere a Protestant and as devout a minister as any whom the Church of England has in her service. There are few men whom I respect so highly.

“Before this letter reaches your Lordship, I shall be on the way to London, and as I shall not finally leave it before the beginning of February, it is possible that I may have the pleasure of meeting you there. It will indeed gratify me to accept of your obliging invitation if I can one day find opportunity and leisure: there is much in your country which I should like to see, and many points upon
which I should gladly seek for information. My Annual Ode two years ago was upon the king’s visit to Ireland, and the condition of that country. It would naturally have concluded with some complimentary and hopeful mention of
Marquis Wellesley, but my spirit failed. I felt that the difficulties of his situation were more than he could overcome; and the poem remained in this respect imperfect.

“That poem of Langhorn’s has certainly a Hebrew cast; but it must be rather a proof that this form of composition is the natural figure of passion, than of imitation. The principle, as a principle, he could not have understood, nor was he, being a lawyer, likely to have had any learning of that kind; nor indeed, being a Catholic, even to have been conversant with the scriptural style. The part given in the Quarterly Review is about a third of the poem, but the whole is in the same high and sustained strain of feeling.

“I am putting the last hand to my long promised Book of the Church. It will give great offence to the Catholics, and to all those Dissenters who inherit the opinions of the Puritans. But I hope and trust that it will confirm in many, and excite in more, a deep, well founded reverence for the Establishment.

Believe me, my Lord,
With great respect and regard,
Your Lordship’s obliged and obedient servant,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 149

The reader may possibly have remarked it as an omission, that among the many persons addressed and alluded to in my father’s letters, the name of Charles Lamb should have so rarely occurred, especially as they were well known to entertain mutual feelings of close friendship, and admiration of each other’s talents. The cause of this has been, on the one hand, that Lamb never preserved the letters he received, and on the other, that such of those written by him to my father as were of peculiar interest, are well known in Mr. Justice Talfourd’s interesting sketch of his life.

The correspondence, indeed, between them, though not frequent, was yet of a most familiar and interesting character; and to visit his early friend*, for they had been intimate for nearly twenty years, was one of the choicest pleasures my father always looked forward to in going to London.

At the time of his present visit to the metropolis, a momentary interruption to their friendship occurred, which requires to be noticed here.

In a recent number of the Quarterly (for July, 1823), in a paper upon the Progress of Infidelity, my father had taken occasion to remark upon the Essays of Elia, that it was a book which wanted only a

* In referring back to the account of my father’s short residence at Burton in the year 1797, I find I have omitted to notice a visit which Charles Lamb there paid him, and which must have been the commencement of their intimacy. Mr. Justice Talfourd states that their first introduction to each other took place through Mr. Coleridge in 1799, but of this I did not find any traces in my father’s letters, doubtless because his mind was then fully occupied with his own difficulties and distresses. Their most frequent intercourse was in 1802, when Lamb was living at the Temple, and London for the last time was my father’s place of abode.

sounder religious feeling to be as delightful as it was original. At this expression, with which my father himself had not been satisfied, but had intended to alter it in the proof sheet, which unfortunately was not sent him, Lamb was greatly annoyed; and having previously taken umbrage at some incidental reference to him in former articles, which in his hasty anger he attributed erroneously to my father’s pen, he now addressed a very long
letter of remonstrance to him by name, in the London Magazine for October (1823). In this, which was republished after his death in his collected works, he dwells particularly upon a point which I have before touched upon, as much I think as is necessary at my hands, that some persons might affix a charge of a want of a sufficiently reverential habit of speaking on religious topics upon my father himself, and also upon the circumstance of his having taken so large a license in jesting upon subjects of Diablerie, and in facetious commentaries upon the Legends of Rome; acquitting him at the same time of all intentional irreverence, and affirming that he himself had learnt from him something of the habit.

This letter, which contained besides much more that was written in a resentful spirit, was put into my father’s hands soon after his arrival in London, and he was greatly astonished at its contents. He says, speaking of it in a letter to Mr. Moxon (July 15. 1837), “When he published that letter to me in the London Magazine, so little was I conscious of having done any thing to offend him, that upon seeing it announced in the contents of that number, I expected
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 151
a letter of friendly pleasantry. My reply was to this effect, that if he had intimated to me that he was hurt by any thing which had been said by me in the
Quarterly Review*, I would in the next number have

* Charles Lamb’s bitter feelings against the Quarterly and its Editor originated in an allusion to him in one of the earlier numbers, where, in speaking of a criticism of his on the great scene in Ford’s play of The Broken Heart, where “Calantha dances on after hearing at every pause of some terrible calamity, the writer had affected to excuse Lamb as a maniac.”1 On seeing the passage, which the circumstances of Lamb’s life rendered so peculiarly obnoxious, my father had written to Murray to express his sorrow at its having been permitted to appear, and received from Gifford, who, it seems, was himself the writer of it, an explanation so honourable to him, that I am extremely glad to be able to insert it here, especially as my father greatly regretted that he had not sent it to Mr. Justice Talfourd.

“I break off here to say that I have this moment received your last letter to Murray. It has grieved and shocked me beyond expression; but, my dear friend, I am innocent as far as the intent goes. I call God to witness that in the whole course of my life I never heard one syllable of Mr. Lamb or his family. I knew not that he ever had a sister, or that he had parents living, or that he or any person connected with him had ever manifested the slightest tendency to insanity. In a word, I declare to you in the most solemn manner that all I ever knew or ever heard of Mr. Lamb was merely his name. Had I been aware of one of the circumstances which you mention, I would have lost my right arm sooner than have written what I have. The plain truth is, that I was shocked at seeing him compare the sufferings and death of a person who just continues to dance after the death of her lover is announced, (for this is all her merit) to the pangs of Mount Calvary; and not choosing to attribute it to folly, because I reserved that charge for Weber, I unhappily in the present case ascribed it to madness, for which I pray God to forgive me, since the blow has fallen heavily where I really thought it would not be felt. I considered Lamb as a thoughtless scribbler, who, in circumstances of ease, amused himself by writing upon any subject. Why I thought so I cannot tell, but it was the opinion I formed to myself, for I now regret to say I never made any inquiry upon the subject; nor by any accident in the whole course of my life did I hear him mentioned beyond the name.

I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours most sincerely,

1 See Final Memorials of C. Lamb, vol. i p. 215.

explained or qualified it to his entire satisfaction; this of course it was impossible for me to do after his letter; but I would never make sport for the Philistines by entering into a controversy with him. The rest was an expression of unchanged affection, and a proposal to call upon him.” And in another letter he says,—“On my part there was not even a momentary feeling of anger; I was very much surprised and grieved, because I knew how much he would condemn himself. And yet no resentful letter was ever written less offensively; his gentle nature may be seen in it throughout.”

Lamb’s answer to my father’s letter, fully confirming this expectation, may fitly be placed here.

C. Lamb, Esq., to R. Southey, Esq.
“E. I. H., Nov. 21. 1823.
“Dear Southey,

“The kindness of your note has melted away the mist that was upon me. I have been fighting against a shadow. That accursed Quarterly Review had vexed me by a gratuitous speaking of its own knowledge*, that the Confessions of a Drunkard was a genuine description of the state of the writer. Little things that are not ill meant may produce much ill. That might have injured me alive and dead. I am in a public office and my life is insured. I was prepared for anger, and I thought I saw, in a few obnoxious words, a hard case of repetition directed against me.

* This was one of the passages before referred to, as wrongfully ascribed to my father.

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I wish both magazine and review were at the bottom of the sea. I shall be ashamed to see you, and my
sister (though innocent) will be still more so, for this folly was done without her knowledge, and has made her uneasy ever since. My guardian angel was absent at that time.

“I will make up courage to see you, however, any day next week (Wednesday excepted). We shall hope that you will bring Edith with you. That will be a second mortification; she will hate to see us; but come and heap embers; we deserve it, I for what I have done, and she for being my sister.

“Do come early in the day, by sunlight, that you may see my Milton. I am at Colebrook Cottage, Colebrook Row, Islington. A detached whitish house, close to the New River, end of Colebrook Terrace, left hand from Sadler’s Wells.

“Will you let us know the day before?

Your penitent,
C. Lamb.”

In a letter to Bernard Barton of the same day, he thus alludes to the expected meeting,—“I have a very kind letter from the Laureate, with a self invitation to come and shake hands with me. This is truly handsome and noble. ’Tis worthy my old ideas of Southey. Shall I not, think you, be covered with a red suffusion?”

The proposed visit was paid, and “the affectionate intimacy, which had lasted for almost twenty years, was renewed only to be interrupted by death.”

To Mrs. Southey.
“London, Dec. 30. 1823.
“My dear Edith,

“We have been this morning to hear Rowland Hill. Mrs. Hughes called at his house last week to know when he would preach, and was answered by a demure-looking woman, that (the Lord willing) her master would preach on Sunday morning at half-past ten, and in the evening at six. So this morning I set off with E. May, Mrs. and Anne Rickman. We were in good time and got into the free seats, where there were a few poor people, one of whom told us to go round to another door and we should be admitted. Another door we found, with orders that the doorkeepers should take no money for admittance, and a request that no person would enter in pattens. Doorkeeper there was none, and we therefore ventured in and took our seats upon a bench beside some decent old women. One of these, with the help of another and busier old piece of feminity, desired us to remove to a bench behind us, close to the wall; the seats we had taken, they said, belonged to particular persons, but if we would sit where she directed till the service was over, we should then be invited into the pews if there was room. I did not immediately understand this, nor what we were to do in the pews when the service was at an end, till I recollected that in most schism shops the sermon is looked upon as the main thing for which the congregation assemble. This was so much the case
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here, that people were continually coming in during all the previous part of the service, to which very little attention was paid; the people sitting or standing as they pleased, and coughing almost incessantly.

“I suppose what is properly called the morning service had been performed at an early hour, for we had only the communion service. Rowland Hill’s pulpit is raised very high, and before it at about half the height is the reader’s desk on his right, and the clerk’s on his left, the clerk being a very grand personage with a sonorous voice. The singing was so general and so good that I joined in it, and, doubtless, made it better by the addition of my voice. During the singing, after Rowland had made his prayer before the sermon, we, as respectable strangers, were beckoned from our humble places by a gentleman in one of the pews. Mrs. R—— and her daughter were stationed in one pew between two gentlemen of Rowland’s flock, and E. May and I in another, between a lady and a person corresponding very much in countenance to the character of a tight boy in the old Methodistical magazines. He was very civil, and by finding out the hymns for me, and presenting me with the book, enabled me to sing, which I did to admiration.

Rowland, a fine tall old man, with strong features, very like his portrait, began by reading three verses for his text, stooping to the book in a very peculiar manner. Having done this, he stood up erect and said, ‘Why the text is a sermon, and a very weighty one too.’ I could not always follow his delivery, the loss of his teeth rendering his words
sometimes indistinct, and the more so because his pronunciation is peculiar, generally giving e the sound of ai, like the French. His manner was animated and striking, sometimes impressive and dignified, always remarkable; and so powerful a voice I have rarely or never heard. Sometimes he took off his spectacles, frequently stooped down to read a text, and on these occasions he seemed to double his body, so high did he stand. He told one or two familiar stories, and used some odd expressions, such as ‘A murrain on those who preach that when we are sanctified we do not grow in grace!’ and again, ‘I had almost said I had rather see the Devil in the pulpit than an Antinomian!’ The purport of his sermon was good; nothing fanatical, nothing enthusiastic; and the Calvinism which it expressed was so qualified as to be harmless. The manner that of a performer, as great in his line as
Kean or Kemble, and the manner it is which has attracted so large a congregation about him, all of the better order of persons in business. E. May was very much amused, and I am very glad I have heard him at last. It is very well that there should be such preachers for those who have no appetite for better drest food. But when the whole service of such a place is compared with the genuine devotion and sober dignity of the Church service, properly performed, I almost wonder at the taste which prevails for garbage.

“One remark I must not omit. I never before understood the unfitness of our language for music. Whenever there was an s in the word, the sound
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produced by so many voices made as loud a hissing as could have been produced by a drove of geese in concert, or by some hundred snakes in full chorus. . . . .

Lane is making a picture which promises to be as good as Phillips’s print is bad, base, vile, vulgar, odious, hateful, detestable, abominable, execrable, and infamous. The rascally mezzotinto scraper has made my face fat, fleshy, silly, and sensual, and given the eyes an expression which I conceive to be more like two oysters in love than anything else. But Lane goes on to the satisfaction of every body, and will neither make me look like an assassin, a Methodist preacher, a sensualist, nor a prig.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Edith May Southey.
“London, Tuesday, Dec. 30. 1823.
“My dear Daughter,

“I have sent you a Bible for a New Year’s gift, in the hope that with the New Year you will begin the custom of reading, morning and night, the Psalms and Lessons for the day. It is far from my wish that this should be imposed as a necessary and burthensome observance, or that you should feel dissatisfied and uneasy at omitting it, when late hours or other accidental circumstances render it inconvenient. Only let it be your ordinary custom. You will one day understand feelingly how beneficially the time has been employed.


“The way which I recommend is, I verily believe, the surest way of profiting by the Scriptures. In the course of this easy and regular perusal, the system of religion appears more and more clear and coherent, its truths are felt more intimately, and its precepts and doctrines reach the heart as slow showers penetrate the ground. In passages which have repeatedly been heard and read, some new force, some peculiar meaning, some home application which had before been overlooked, will frequently come out, and you will find, in thus recurring daily to the Bible, as you have done among the lakes and mountains which you love so well, in the Word of God, as in his works, beauties and effects, and influences as fresh as they are inexhaustible. I say this from experience. May God bless the book to the purpose for which it is intended! and take you with it, my dear dear child, the blessing of

Your affectionate father,
Robert Southey.”

After pursuing his intended course into the West of England, and visiting his aged aunt at Taunton, and his friend Mr. Lightfoot at Crediton, my father reached home early in the next year; for the incidents and correspondence of which we must open a new chapter.